Basic Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

vanilla buttercream recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

I’ve tested a ton of buttercream recipes in my day, but my go-to is a super simple American buttercream recipe that I’ve tweaked to my liking. I’ve used this recipe for frosting countless cakes and cupcakes and I’m a big believer that a good vanilla buttercream is something every baker should have in their recipe box. There’s nothing fancy about the way this recipe is made, but it will certainly taste like you whipped up something special!

vanilla buttercream recipe for cakes

Making sure you use a good quality vanilla extract or paste is one of the secrets to success. You can use any kind of vanilla extract or paste, but I always use bourbon vanilla (I get mine from Trader Joe’s!) to give it a rich vanilla flavor. The other secret to success? Room temperature everything. That means taking the milk and butter out and letting them come to room temperature for about a half hour to an hour before you start any mixing. 

american vanilla buttercream recipe

Here’s a quick video I whipped up to show you my method for making this buttercream recipe and all my tips for success:

I’ve got more recipe videos like this one + some fun cake decorating tutorials on my YouTube channel if you want to see some more! I’m always rolling out new videos, so click the subscribe button while you’re there to ensure you never miss a new one.

vanilla buttercream recipe for cakes
5 from 24 votes
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Vanilla Buttercream

A rich, flavorful vanilla buttercream that is so easy to whip up, but tastes like you made something special. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk or heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Instructions

  1. With a hand mixer or paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high until it’s creamy and light (almost white) in color. About 7 minutes. 

  2. With the mixer on low, add the sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping down after each addition and making sure each cup is fully incorporated before adding the next one. 

  3. Add vanilla, milk, and salt and mix on low for another minute until fully incorporated. 

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips: This buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip in your stand mixer to bring back to smooth buttercream consistency. 

To Make It Vegan: substitute an equal amount of vegan butter (I love Earth Balance Sticks) for the unsalted butter, use 1 Tbsp dairy-free milk instead of 2 Tbsp whole milk (my favorite is unsweetened coconut milk), and omit the salt. 

To Make It Extra White: After all ingredients have been incorporated, add 1-2 tsp of Americolor Bright White or icing whitener of your choice.  


Tips for the best buttercream consistency

There are three types of consistency for buttercream that you need to know, and each one plays a different role in cake decorating.

Thin Consistency

This is what you want if you’re frosting a cake, especially if you want a smooth buttercream finish. This buttercream is pretty thin consistency as-is, so it’s super easy to spread smoothly onto cakes. To test and make sure you’ve got a thin consistency going, you should be able to dip your rubber spatula into the buttercream and it will come out with smooth peaks and spread easily when you move your finger over it.

vanilla buttercream recipe for frosting cake

Medium Consistency

If you’re about to pipe some cupcakes or intricate designs around a cake (like a shell border), medium consistency will help your buttercream hold the design without drooping. To achieve it, just add an extra half cup of powdered sugar per batch to the above recipe. 

10 ways to frost a cupcake

Stiff Consistency

If you’re piping buttercream flowers, especially ones with petals that need to stand upright, you’ll need a stiff consistency. Add an extra cup powdered sugar per batch of the above recipe to achieve this. When you dip your rubber spatula into the frosting, it should come out with stiff peaks, but when you pipe with it, make sure it’s not so thick that you have to put a ton of extra pressure on the bag or clog the piping tip. If you’re running into these problems, fear not! You can tone it down by adding whole milk, 1 tsp at a time, until it’s just right.

buttercream flower cake tutorial

198 Comments

    • 5 stars
      Hallo, wat is dit ‘whole milk or heavy whipping cream’???
      Alvast bedankt

      • Hi Aygul! Whole milk has the highest butterfat percentage of any dairy milk (as opposed to “2%” or “skim milk”, etc) and heavy whipping cream is basically whole milk with an even higher butterfat percentage. What kind of milk do you have over there? I can offer a recommendation if you don’t have access to whole milk or heavy whipping cream.

        • Hi Whitney,

          while I do have whole milk and heavy whipping cream I’m curious to hear your other recommendation. I don’t generally have either at home as we don’t drink milk and the heavy cream always goes to waste after the couple tbsps I use out of the cartons :/

          Thanks!

          • Hi Maria! This recipe is best with either whole milk or heavy whipping cream. I’ve never tried it with any other liquid, but I suppose you could substitute it with any liquid dairy you have on hand. Let me know if you try it with something as a substitute!

        • I don’t have access to either and have 2% milk at home. What’s your recommendation?

          • Hi Takwa, you can use 2% milk and the results should be totally fine! Just make sure the milk is room temperature before adding it to the buttercream. I only recommend Whole Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream because that’s usually what I have on hand and the added fat content produces buttercream that’s a little bit fluffier.

        • Takwa Wahedi

          I don’t have easy access to whole milk or heavy cream! I’d love a recommendation!

          • Hi Takwa. Just like I mentioned above, you can use any kind of milk you want. You mentioned having 2% milk at home and that would be totally fine.

          • Hi Whitney
            If I am doing a 3 layer 20cm round cake with a 2 layer 10cm round cake how many quantities do you recommend for layers, crumb coat and frosting?
            Thank you

          • Hi Leanne! To fill, crumb coat, and frost both cakes of those sizes, I would make 2.5 batches of this recipe.

  1. Jodie Becker

    Hi Whitney, thanks for your tips!! Buttercream is always too sweet for me. Is there any other ways to make it stiffer without making it sweeter?

    • Hi Jodie! I hate having buttercream that’s too sweet, which is why my recipe includes less powdered sugar than normal and the addition of salt. If the stiffened version of this recipe is still too sweet for your liking, try adding an extra pinch or two of salt to even out the flavor.

      • 5 stars
        Hi, Am from Peru, and am new in the world of pastry. I followed you for a while, but i didn´t know you have a blog. I love your work, and found this tips it´s awesome. Thanks for sharing all your secrets.
        My question is, when you said less powdered sugar and the addition of salt, you meant like change quantities? And if i use less powdered sugar, my buttercream will be thin? I used 334gr of margarine and 167gr of shortening, and 1kg of powder sugar. And i have same problem, flavor its to sweet. I use a peruvian escense called: Leche condensada, not Vanilla. Thanks again for your tips, and by just reading my comment am happy! Best of wishes always!

        • Hi Johanna! Thanks so much for the kind words! Depending on the consistency of the buttercream (if you want it thicker for piping things like buttercream flowers or thinner for frosting a cake) I recommend using different amounts of powdered sugar, as specified in the Consistency section of this post after the recipe. If your buttercream is too sweet, you can add a little extra salt to tone it down. I always just taste as I go. Hope that helps!

        • To help cut the sweetness, add some lemon extract to the recipe. Start with 1 teaspoon per 1 kg of powdered sugar. Let it sit for a few minutes, then taste it. You can add another 1/2 teaspoon if you would like. But be careful as adding to much it will change the flavor to a strong lemon flavor.

  2. Elizabeth Lewis

    5 stars
    Thank you Whitney! I am new to your blog amd I adore it already! You’re posts are to the point, and funny and your recipes aren’t overwhelmingly or complicated! From this busy F/t Mommy, big thanks!

    Blessings to you!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow!!! Ur recipes are sooo wonderful and amazing. I just love them. It’s soooo simple and easy to understand. Thnks a lot for sharing ur wonderful recipes with everyone

  4. Hi. After frosting the cake, should I refrigerate it or is it okay to keep it in room temperature?

    • Hi Debbie! While you can technically leave the frosted cake at room temperature for up to two days, I usually refrigerate it until about an hour before serving the cake. I only do that to ensure the frosting stays picture perfect + the cake is easier to handle for a delivery if it’s cold. Just make sure you serve the cake at room temperature because it tastes better that way!

      • Hi
        Just love your blog. I’m new to frosting and decorating cakes, your blog explains it very well. Loved your spatula painting decor idea. I’m definitely going to try it out. Thanks and love from India .

        • Swetha, that makes my day! So happy you’ve found my blog helpful and I’m cheering you on in your newfound love for cake decorating!

  5. Donna B Oliphint

    I live in middle Alabama, and all butter buttercream will melt in my kitchen, much less during transport even if it’s been refrigerated. Do you have any tips for making it more stable. Currently, I use 1/2 butter and 1/2 Crisco. I’ve just learned about SweetX, but wondered about the taste.

  6. Your cake is gorgeous!! I have a quick question about the sifted powdered sugar. Do you measure first then sift into the creamer butter or do you sift into a measuring cup? Thanks!!

    • Hi Marlena! I usually sift the powdered sugar into a big bowl, then spoon it into a measuring cup and level it off before adding it to the butter. Hope that helps!

  7. Hello! I would like to know if with these quantities you decorate the whole cake or make more quantity of cream. Thank you

    • Hi Martina! I double the recipe if I’m filling and frosting a 6 inch cake, but as-is it will fill and frost a 4 inch cake or can be used to decorate about 18-20 cupcakes. Hope that helps!

  8. Sunshine

    I use crisco in my icing. Can I use the same ratio you have with the butter? Also, what about the butter crisco? Thoughts?

    • Hi Sunshine! I’ve never tried this recipe with Crisco or Butter Crisco, so it would be an experiment for you! I think it’s worth trying though, and if you do I would try it with the same ratio I have with butter. Let me know if you try it, I’m curious now!

  9. Hola es la primera vez que entro en tu blog, y vaya me encantó. Mi pregunta es, cuánto dura la consistencia de la crema si hago una torta con picos como la de unicornio que tú hiciste, pero si la dejo al aire libre en un cumpleaños

    • Hola, Leonela, haría la crema de mantequilla de consistencia media y debería estar bien salir en una fiesta de cumpleaños al aire libre durante una hora o dos, siempre que la temperatura exterior sea de 75 grados o menos. Si hace más calor que eso, dejaría la torta en el refrigerador hasta una hora antes de servirla.

  10. Ho There,
    How long does the buttercream last? Do you think it is OK to make the buttercream in advance, store it in the fridge, and then bring it back to room temp before using? Thanks so much!
    Heather

    • Hi Heather! I make this buttercream recipe ahead all the time. You can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for two days, then rewhip it with your stand mixer to bring it back to creamy consistency. If you’re wanting to store it for longer than two days, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temp and rewhip with your mixer before using. Hope that helps!

      • I made the buttercream and it is absolutely delicious!! I’m so excited about this recipe! One more question, once the cake is frosted what is the best way to store it? Do you cover it with plastic wrap or a cake platter with lid?

        • Yay, Heather! So happy to hear that! Once the cake is frosted, the buttercream acts as a barrier to hold moisture within the cake, so there’s no need to cover it with additional plastic wrap, etc. I just keep it in the refrigerator until a few hours before serving.

  11. Do you have a similar recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting?

  12. Jessica H.

    5 stars
    I’ve nevwr loved an ABC frosting more than this! & the smoothest I’ve ever been able to get on a cake. Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Jessica Ebert

    Hi Whitney, Could I make a strawberry buttercream using freeze-dried strawberries and this recipe? If so, do you have any recommendations on quantity of freeze-dried strawberry powder to butter/sugar/cream/milk? Strawberry frosting is the best, but I can’t use most recipes as they require extract and I’m allergic to red 40. Thanks!

  14. Hi Whitney! Do you use the thin consistency to cover the outer layer of the cake? Which consistency is best if I need to paint it in gold? Another question what happens if I want to reduce the sugar level does it affect the consistency of the buttercream?

    • Hi Natalie! I use thin-consistency to frost cakes (it’s the same measurements as the recipe above). If you add less sugar, the consistency will be even thinner, so I would reduce the amount of milk depending on how much you reduce the sugar (otherwise it might be too liquidy). You can eyeball that part. Thin consistency buttercream will also be perfect for painting a gold finish. You just need to refrigerate the cake after frosting it for about 30 minutes (until the buttercream is firm to the touch) before painting.

    • Hi, Jessy! I don’t think this recipe is too sweet. I purposefully reduced the sugar (most other recipes call for 4+ cups of sugar) and added salt to make it sweet, but not overly so.

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you! I’m a basic cook, but I followed your buttercream (and chocolate dripping ganache) recipe, plus the tips. They were a great help & they both came out perfectly!

  16. Hi Whitney,

    When you say you use this to frost your cakes, is that for the crumb coat also? And how much doubling will I have to do for a 10in rounds cake? I’m really excited to try this recipe since i’ve stayed away from traditional butter cream because of the sweetness.

    • Hi, Jackie! This recipe works for filling, crumb coating, and frosting the cake. For a 10 inch round cake, if you’re using it as filling as well as frosting, I would make 2.5x the recipe. If you’re just crumb coating and frosting the cake, I would make 1.5x the recipe. Hope you love it!! Let me know how it goes.

  17. Hi Whitney,
    what can you substitute vanilla extract with? I have Vanilla essence and vanilla paste but I’m not sure if I can use them to replace it? please will you let me know if I can substitute with these and in what measurements.
    thanks

    • Hi Ashley! You can substitute vanilla extract with vanilla paste. Just use equal amounts of vanilla paste per amount of vanilla extract and you’ll be good!

  18. I’ve tried this recipe a couple times now and I love it!! Not overly sweet which is great. However, each time I’ve made it I get some serious air bubbles, which makes getting that nice, smooth layer of frosting on my cake difficult. Any tips??

    • Hi Bel! Glad you’re loving the vanilla buttercream recipe! So the only real way to eliminate air bubbles is to make sure you don’t overwhip the buttercream (more whipping time = more air being incorporated). If you do end up with air bubbles, try pressing the buttercream to the sides of your mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to release some of that air.

      Sometimes when I’m frosting a cake and finding that there are air bubbles that can’t easily be smoothed out, I will get the first frosting layer as smooth as I can and then chill the cake for about 30 minutes, then fill in all the air bubble holes with more buttercream and smooth that over. It makes for a super smooth cake. Here’s a full tutorial with all my best tips on how to get the smoothest finish possible: https://sugarandsparrow.com/how-to-frost-a-cake/ Hope all that helps!

  19. I was wondering about how many cupcakes does this decorate? Wanted to use this for a cupcake cake and some extra cupcakes, 60 in total

  20. Thanks for this wonderful recipe! Do you have YouTube channel? I am from Philippines

  21. Hello! I am a home baker and for some reason my previous recipe (which uses shortening) has just been, well, falling short lately! So I plan on trying out yours this weekend!

    Quick question regarding coloring – most of my cakes are not white and so how I do it now is incorporate the color into the cream/vanilla and then put it in the butter/sugar mix. Would you recommend doing this or what is your “go to” method for adding color!

    I’m so excited to find your site, I love your tutorials! I am going to try out a fault line cake this weekend I think!

    • Hi Ashley! I’m so excited for you to try this vanilla buttercream recipe and make a fault line cake. For coloring, I usually make the batch of buttercream, then add food color gel to tint it. I find that it’s easier to control the color that way, but you do you!

  22. Hey I live in a area which is quite humid so is there anyway to prevent my buttercream melting without using shortening

    • Hi Rhea! Substituting butter with shortening is the only method I’ve tried for stabilizing the buttercream for hot/humid environments. If you’d rather go the all-butter route, you can always keep the cake in the fridge until about 30 minutes before you serve it. That keeps it nice and firm for presentation.

      • Interesting! I have not bought the Costco butter because it says sweet cream and I thought that was different. Did you use Costco butter for your vanilla cake too?

    • Hi Alia! It depends on the size of the cake. For a three-layer 6 inch cake (the most common size I make), I double this vanilla buttercream recipe.

    • Hi Roneth! I’ve never tried this recipe with margarine, but I have tried it with half butter and half shortening (which works great!). I’d say give it a try, but I can’t recommend it confidently since I don’t know how it will turn out with margarine.

  23. 5 stars
    Hello Whitney,
    Thank you so much for sharing all of your talents.
    I tried your medium consistency vanilla buttercream to frost cupcakes. However, I am so slow at frosting that by the time I finish frosting five cupcakes, my hands have heated up the rest of the frosting in the piping bag making the frosting very melty and aesthetically unpleasing. So, I tried adding less to the bag, refrigerated it, whipped it up, and then frosted but then I get these bad ruffley edges for the rosettes. PLEASE HELP. I can’t seem to get the temperature right to frost.

    • Hi Sam, I have a few tricks for that because it’s happened to me before! Prepare one piping bag by fitting it with the piping tip. Then, fill a second piping bag with the frosting, snip off the end, and place it inside the piping bag with the piping tip. This will help prevent the frosting inside from heating up too quickly. Also, try running your hands under cold water and drying them off before piping. This will slow down the process of your hands getting too hot. Between those two things, I think you can buy yourself lots of extra time for piping those cupcakes!

  24. Hi, I was just wondering how much buttercream I would need to make for a semi-naked cake with four layers?
    Thank you so much!!

    • Hi there! For a 6 or 8 inch four-layer cake, I would make 1.5 batches of this vanilla buttercream recipe. That will be enough to fill the layers and frost them in a semi-naked finish.

  25. First of all, I love you! I have a question, is this buttercream ok to put your white chocolate ganache on?(drip cake) and another question, can I add concentrated oil flavor to the buttercream, for example, strawberry oil flavor? Should
    I still add the vanilla extract? Thanks !

    • Hi Alejandra! You can definitely do a white chocolate ganache drip cake over this buttercream (I do all the time!). Just make sure the buttercream cake is chilled before dripping with the room temp ganache. I’ve never added concentrated oil to buttercream, but if they’re made for flavoring I would add just a little bit at a time until you get the desired taste. I would still add the vanilla extract if it’s a complimentary flavor to the one you want to add.

  26. Another question, is it true that colors set better when you add white food coloring and then the color that you want the cake to be ? Been wanting to know this for a while. Thank
    You!!!

    • Adding whitener will just give you a pure white base (as opposed to yellow or off white), so when you add the food color gels, the color ends up being more pure. This buttercream ends up being pretty white as-is (from whipping the butter for so long), so I’ve never had to really add additional whitener to achieve rich colors with it.

  27. Very well described. Thank you ! What do you suggest if we live in a cold county and the butter has to sit overnight on the counter to come to room temperature? I don’t use microwave. So what’s the best method ?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Hi there! You only really need about 1-2 hours for butter to come to room temp (which should be about 65 degrees), but leaving it out overnight is fine. You can also cut the butter into smaller pieces and it will reach room temp even quicker.

  28. Hi Whitney!
    I’m looking to use this recipe to make some buttercream for a birthday cake, and I was wondering what brand/kind of butter you use? I’ve been doing a lot of research and I’ve heard a lot about European butter & high fat butter. Do you recommend this for this recipe? Is there a specific kind of butter you think is best for this specific recipe?

    • Hi Abby! I have never tried European/high fat butter before, I always just get mine at Costco (It’s classified as American butter). After doing a little research on European butter, I’m sure it will work just fine in this recipe if you want to use it. I’ve read that it has a tangier taste (which should be counteracted fine with the sugar in this recipe) and yellower hue, so you might end up with a yellower buttercream as a result. Just some things to consider. Let me know if you try it, I’m curious now!

  29. Hi Whitney! I just finished making this frosting. One quick question… if I’m on a low carb diet can I eat the entire bowl and not worry about my diet? Bahaha!! Just kidding. I crack myself up! It’s a great, easy recipe, love it!

  30. Does this method work with Swiss or Italian buttercream as well so long as the consistency is correct or does it require the crusting that simple buttercream has?

    • Hi Amanda. Depends on which method you’re talking about. If it’s filling and frosting a cake, Swiss and Italian buttercreams work just fine. I’m not sure about creating buttercream flowers with either of those buttercreams though. The American buttercream crusts and dries firm, making it easy to work with buttercream flowers. Not sure if Swiss or Italian would do the same.

  31. Samantha

    5 stars
    I finally succeeded a buttercream perfectly thanks to this recipe. Thank you so much for such a great recipe and instructions. My cake has been stacked and crumb coated with my first batch and I cant wait to make my second batch and using it to make a camo cake.

    • So happy you love this recipe, Samanatha! That totally makes my day. Thanks for letting me know and good luck on your camo cake!

  32. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney! I am baking a cake next week that is 3 layers and 6 inches round. How much of this recipe should I use?

  33. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing with us ! If I want to colour this buttercream when do I put the food coloring ? An if I want to taste it for example with Nutella !? Can I do it ? Love from Greece

  34. Andree

    Hello there! To avoid too many air bubbles in your bc, do you add the sugar at low speed? There seems to be different techniques out there! Th am you!

    • Hi Andree, I do add the sugar at a low speed and I find that it helps control the amount of air being incorporated into the buttercream. I’ll add that to the instructions!

  35. Bethany

    Hello! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Have you ever added chocolate to this, either melted chocolate or cocoa powder, and if so, how much? I am always looking for a good chocolate American buttercream recipe to go with classic yellow cake.

    Thanks!

  36. Hi, thank you for sharing. If using milk or cream , how safe is it to be left out of fridge? Some cakes will be out on table etc at parties. Thank you

    • Hi Sue! The sugar content in the frosting actually preserves the small amount of dairy in this recipe, so it’s safe to leave out on a frosted cake for up to 3-4 days.

  37. Aubree Osuna

    Hi! I love this recipe! I have been searching for one that wasn’t quite so sweet, and this is perfect!! I was wondering if there is a brand of vanilla you love? Right now I use Molina. Thanks again for sharing your delicious recipe!

    • Hi Aubree! So happy you love this recipe as much as I do! I love using Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract in mine.

  38. Precious

    I have being searching for a good butter cream recipe, God bless you for this knowledge. I will definitely give it a try.

  39. 5 stars
    I love this buttercream recipe! I hate it when buttercream is too sweet and this one is perfect.

    How much of this recipe would I need to fill and frost a 3 or 4 (I haven’t decided yet!) layer 8-inch cake? Would I double the recipe? x

    • So happy you love this recipe, Elissa! I would make 2.5x the recipe to fill and frost a 3-4 layer 8-inch cake.

  40. 5 stars
    Hi from Australia Whitney! Thanks for all the detailed info. I’m about to try your galaxy cake next week for my 5 year old. I was wondering, do you sugar syrup your cakes before layering/frosting/crumb coating them? Or does that depend in the cake recipe used?
    Love your videos, Belinda

    • Hi Belinda! I don’t typically syrup my cakes before filling and frosting, as they’re already pretty moist and flavorful as-is. It’s something you can totally do with any layer cake though!

  41. 5 stars
    Hi! I have made your recipe before and I had to keep myself from eating it all before I had my cake frosted! I am making a “number 3” cake for my twins’ birthday this weekend using 2 Bundt cakes. I will do a crumb coat and then pipe stars all over it. How many batches would you recommend making? I will be making a few different colors with it so I don’t want to come up short and then have to try to match the colors if I have to make another batch.

    • Hi Sarah! So happy you love this recipe and your cake sounds so cute!! To be on the safe side, I would double this recipe to ensure you have enough for crumb coating and decorating. You might end up with a little extra, but in my opinion it’s better to have a little more than barely enough 🙂 have fun!

  42. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I know it’ll affect it taste-wise, but will using margarine affect this recipe texture-wise?

    • Hi there! I’m not exactly sure how it will affect the texture to use margarine instead of butter, as I’ve never tried it before. But after a quick Google search it looks like margarine is a suitable substitute for butter in a buttercream recipe! I’d say go for it!

  43. Kacie Rodriguez

    Hi!
    How much should I double this to have enough frosting to fill & frost a three layer 9” cake? Thank you!

    • Hi Kacie! Doubling this recipe should be just enough for filling and frosting a three layer 9 inch cake. If you want to do any additional decorating with the frosting (piping, etc) then I recommend making 2.5x the recipe.

  44. Hi your frosting recipie is AMAZING I have been using it ever since the first day I made it!

  45. Hi! Your vanilla cupcake recipie with your vanilla buttercream recipie is delicous!

  46. Yudirma echenique

    5 stars
    Excellent, I already made the recipe and for my best of all you are the maximum thousand thanks

  47. So I’m doing your smash cake recipe and I also wanted to use this buttercream but it yields a lot of such a small cake. How much do you think I should divide it

    • Hi Jada! I typically use one batch of this to fill, frost, and decorate a smash cake. If you half the recipe it will be just enough to fill and frost with a thin layer of frosting.

  48. Why is my buttercream grainy? No matter what I do my sugar never melts into the butter

    • Hi Manisha! It’s hard to know exactly what’s causing the graininess since I am not able to observe your exact method/ingredients used with this recipe. After searching Google a bit, it seems like grainy texture can happen from the following reasons: 1) ingredients aren’t room temperature (usually when they’re too cold), 2) powdered sugar is made from a less-dissolvable source (apparently Cane Sugar is the best source to use), 3) powdered sugar was not sifted, and 4) you didn’t give the mixture enough time to come together at the end. If your ingredients are room temp, you’re using the right powdered sugar, and you’ve sifted it, try mixing it on low for an additional minute or two to give it more time to dissolve. If it’s still grainy, try add a tsp of room temperature milk and continue mixing.

  49. Hi Whitney! Can I ise vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract for this recipe?
    Love all your helpful posts by the way ♥️

    • Hi Jamie! It can. Just follow the same speeds and mixing times and you should be good to go with a hand mixer!

  50. Hi!
    I would like to make this into a lemon buttercream. How would you recommend doing that? I know that adding only the extract can sometimes result in a bitter taste because there is no acidity, but I don’t want to add too much liquid with the juice. Thanks!

    • Hi Ellen! To turn this into lemon buttercream, omit the vanilla and instead add the zest and juice of a small lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp of lemon juice). I would also half the amount of whole milk to cut down on the liquid. I do have a lemon buttercream recipe here but it makes a bit more than this vanilla buttercream recipe does (enough to frost a triple layer 6-inch cake): https://sugarandsparrow.com/strawberry-lemonade-cake-recipe/

  51. Do you need to use different consistencies buttercream for filling vs crumb coating and frosting the cake? Would you do a thick consistency for filling the cake ?

  52. Hi! This buttercream recipe looks amazing! I am making a 4 tier wedding cake (12″, 10″, 8″ and 6″ double tiers). How many batches of this frosting will I need? Also, if I use salted butter should I leave out the salt called for in the recipe?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Kristi! Wow, that’s a big cake! Maybe start with 5x this amount and go from there? It’s hard to say for sure because I don’t know how you’ll be decorating the cake (semi-naked finish? accent piping? etc). To give you an idea of how much this makes, I usually double this recipe to fill and frost one triple-layer 8 inch cake. And yes, if you use salted butter go ahead and omit the salt at the end.

  53. Hi Whitney! I just started making cakes a few months ago and I’m obsessed with making flowers. I just haven’t found the right consistency to withstand the crazy humidity here in Austin, Texas! Not sure where you are located but what’s your experience with these flowers staying in place in humid weather? I read somewhere to add shortening and I actually tried that with one of the buttercream recipes and it was absolutely disgusting! I really want to find a good buttercream to hold. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Tisha! I’m in the pacific northwest, so it’s not quite as humid/hot over here. Substituting half (or all) of the butter in this recipe with vegetable shortening (the higher the fat ratio the better!) is the only way I know to stabilize it for heat and humidity! I wish I had another suggestion for you but the science behind it is that butter just starts to soften and melt above 75ish degrees and shortening is just much more heat tolerant.

      • Darn. That’s kind of what I thought you would say! 🙂 Most of my research comes up with the same answer. Although, a few recipes suggested cornstarch. I guess I need to start making two separate buttercream recipes, one to frost the cake and the other (with shortening) for flowers. Most people I know don’t really eat all the decor… I’ll keep playing with it. Thanks for the input though!

  54. Kacie Rodriguez

    Hi!
    I was wondering how much frosting you typically use between your layers, to crumb coat, to frost, & decorate? I am trying to get my measurements down to a science so I make just enough of what I need. Thank you!

    • Hi Kacie! It totally depends on the size of the cake. If it’s a 3-layer 4 inch round cake, one batch of this recipe is enough to fill, frost, and decorate. If it’s a triple layer 6-inch or 8-inch cake, a double batch of this recipe is perfect. Hope that helps!

  55. 5 stars
    This icing was delicious! Do you have a post or tutorial on coloring the icing? I had a terrible time getting the right colors for a cake but there aren’t many tutorials out there that I found. Everything I’ve seen says to not add much gel coloring except my toddler’s rainbow cake (with dark/bold-ish pastel colors) ended up looking like a Easter/gender reveal cake because I couldn’t get the colors right in the correct quantities to pipe multicolored designs. I didn’t want true bold colors, but wasted so much time and icing trying to get it just right. What’s the trick?

    • Hi Julie! So happy to hear that you love this recipe! I am currently working on a tutorial on how to color buttercream as part of my Cake Basics series, so stay tuned. I’ll make an announcement about it on my Instagram when it’s ready!

  56. Hello
    How many batches do I need to fill and coat a cake ? 6 inch 3 layers
    Thank you !

  57. 5 stars
    Hi Whitney I have a question about the speed medium high to start with butter, which number on your KA?, because I have KA too. Thanks! from Spain

    • Hi Sara! If you’re just covering the cake (filling and stacking with other frostings/fillings), 1.5x this recipe will be the perfect amount.

  58. 5 stars
    Hey!
    I was wondering, how does your icing turn out so pale white? Whenever I make buttercream, it turns out quite yellow because the butter is yellow. Do you have to add something, or do you use a special kind of butter? I’ve experimented with adding a tiny amount of purple food colouring, but its just turned it grey!

    Thank you. X

    • Hi Ruth! I whip the butter for 7-10 minutes before adding the other ingredients in this recipe, until the butter is almost white in color. That sets the recipe up to turn out pretty white as-is, but if you want it extra bright you can add an icing whitener like Americolor Bright White: https://amzn.to/2EAQXnm

  59. Hi,
    You butter cream looks great but won’t it be too sweet after adding double amount of sugar?

    • Hi Noopur, I’m not sure what you mean by “double the amount of sugar”. This recipe is meant to have the amount of sugar and other ingredients specified, and I’ve purposefully made it less sweet than other American buttercream recipes by lessening the sugar and adding salt in for balance.

  60. Hi maam, great buttercream recipe! Everyone in my family loved it. All the credit goes to you. That smile on my brothers face was so adorable. I have seen all your vlogs and they are quite interesting. lots of love from me and my family.

  61. Hey! Love your website!! I’m trying to make a birthday cake, and this has been so helpful!! I do have a few questions. If I use clear vanilla extract, will this make the buttercream white instead of yellow? Also, can the buttercream be tinted pink(doing two tiers)?

    I saw the comment about storing the cake in the refrigerator after it’s frosted, but I’m planning to add a few fondant decorations. I’ve read fondant should not be refrigerated. Any suggestions on this?? Should I wait to add the fondant decorations until it’s reached room temperature again? Or just avoid refrigerating it? I was planning to frost the day before.. Thanks in advance!!

    • Hi Connie! To answer your questions: 1) This buttercream is already pretty white as-is from whipping the butter for so long, but using clear vanilla extract will make the buttercream even more white. 2) it can be tinted pink with the food color gel of your choice 3) I have stored cakes with fondant decorations in the refrigerator overnight before and they ended up being totally fine, but I know some bakers in more humid states have problems with that. I always refrigerate my cakes after decorating to preserve the details, so that’s what I recommend. Hope that helps!

  62. I’m planning on making your sprinkle fault line cake, you wrote there that you need 1.5 batches of buttercream. How many batches total would I need for the entire cake filling, frosting, and the fault line? (I’m making a 3 layer 6 inch cake.) Also can I use thin consistency buttercream for filling my cake or will it spill out the sides? Will my frosting stay good if it’s covered in a bowl in the refrigerator?
    Thanks for your recipe!!

    • Hi there! Two batches of buttercream will be the perfect amount for filling, crumb coating, and replicating this fault line design. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, just bring it back to room temperature and rewhip it with your stand mixer before using it on your cake. And as far as consistency goes, I would use the recipe as-is for filling and frosting the cake. That’s the consistency I use all the time. Hope that helps!!

      • So would that mean that half a batch is enough to crumb coat a 3 layer 6 inch cake? (Because I noticed that you wrote by the fault line cake that you need 1.5 batches in addition to a crumb coated cake)

        • I just made this with the vegan variation (using the Earth Balance -78% vegetable oil spread- vegan buttery sticks and room temp soy milk). It came out slightly grainy and I think I may run into the same issue when I made buttercream another time. I haven’t frosted the cake but the frosting doesn’t seem to be the right texture. It seems to almost be a bit grainy…??

  63. Hi Whitney!
    This was so helpful! Are those burgundy roses? May I ask what gel colouring you used to get them so dark. TIA. Love from Seattle ❤️

  64. Rahemeen Ilyas

    Hi Whitney, curious if this would be enough for a three layer cake each of an inch

  65. Rachael Gwa

    5 stars
    Thank you so much this recipe is a winner indeed.
    I am grateful for the explanation on the consistency of the buttercream
    Greetings from Namibia

    • Yay, Rachael! It makes me so happy to hear that the recipe was a hit and the blog post was helpful. Thanks for taking the time to let me know and love from Portland!

  66. Cakeaholics

    5 stars
    Hi Whitney, I use a very similar ABC recipe and I love it! I always use the whisk attachment and have just recently seen people use the paddle attachment to mix their buttercream instead. What are the pros and cons of using either attachment? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi there! I’ve never used a whisk attachment for this recipe, and only because I’ve heard it adds extra air into the buttercream. I’m not sure how it actually compares since I’ve always used a paddle attachment, But I also know bakers who swear by the whisk! That’s probably not super helpful but until I do a side by side comparison I won’t know the pros and cons 🙂

  67. What happens if use salted butter instead of salted? Will it be too salty? Or should I use salted butter and spent add any salt?

    • Hi Sara! It will definitely be more salty if you use salted butter, so be sure to omit adding salt at the end if you do so and it should taste fine!

  68. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe, i tried it out for the first time recently as i have been making buttercream for some time now but i wanted to see if i could make it better, more creamier and less sweet. And this recipe was just that! Best recipe i have found. I have been researching for a long time now, and found it difficult to find a british buttercream recipe i liked, as i’m from london. But i didn’t like them, then a lot of american recipes are just too sweet or have too many ingredients for my liking. After making this and alternating it a little, i used salted butter because i saw another recipe discussing the myth of unsalted butter etc and i’ve always used salted for baking but when using it in buttercream i think it just ruins it for me, so salted butter definitely helped! Also instead of just sifting the icing sugar (powdered sugar) once i did it twice, i never used to sift my buttercream and it sometimes would be grainy also i decided to purchase a better quality icing sugar i think that’s what helped. And i had never thought about adding double cream as usually i’ve seen just milk but these new tips and ingredients really became a game changer. It was so creamy, light, fluffy and the perfect amount of sweetness. I never usually comment but i just had to as i was going to be using it again. So thank you!

  69. Hi Whitney,

    I am excited to give this icing recipe a go. I am wanting to pipe some stars and rosettes as decoration on to a cake. Once I have filled the cake layers, made a crumb coat and re-iced the cake with the recipe above should I add additional powder sugar to the remaining icing to make it a medium consistency for piping? Do you typically make two different icing batches? One for filling and decorating the cake and another batch for decorating?

    Thank you for the tips!

    • Hi Lauren! I usually do add just a little bit more powdered sugar to the remaining buttercream for decorative piping, but only if the buttercream seems too thin to hold it’s shape when piped. I make one big batch of buttercream for everything and just add additional powdered sugar (literally just mix a little bit in at a time) as needed when I get to the piping part. Hope that helps!

  70. Hi Whitney,
    I followed your smash cake recipe for my niece’s smash cake. My sister asked for an exposed/rustic cake look so I would only need to fill and crumb coat the 3 layer 4″ cakes. Do you think I would have enough buttercream if I halved this recipe?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Stacey! You would totally have enough to fill and frost this cake with a semi-naked finish if you half the recipe.

  71. I can’t have lactose especially can’t have any thing with whole milk or heavy cream or anything I can have foods wit small amounts of like skim milk but sumtimes get sick from that but what can I do to make it still?

    • Hi Athena! You can make this dairy free by substituting an equal amount of vegan butter for unsalted butter and an equal amount of dairy-free milk of your choice (I love coconut milk with this recipe). Enjoy!

  72. Hi…I’m making a taller(5 – 1 inch layers) 6 inch round cake….so I’m guessing will I need 3x the recipe? Or 4? Should I use the basic recipe consistency to fill between the layers, then add extra milk for the thinner consistency you mention for the outside?
    Thank you

    • Hi Jane! For a tall 6 inch round cake I would use 2.5x the recipe. That should be more than enough to fill and frost the cake. The recipe works for filling and frosting as-is, no need to alter the consistency!

  73. Hi Whitney! I am making a 4 tier cake that will be covered in fondant. Would this recipe work for filling the layers and frosting under the fondant? And if yes, which version should I use, thin, medium or thick?

    • Hi Tammy! This recipe will work for filling and frosting under fondant. I would just use the recipe as-is, no need to alter the consistency. Make sure the frosted cake is nice and chilled before adding the fondant on top! Hope that helps!

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